“He sought the great oblivion of sleep, and doubts all wakefulness now.”

The tiring mundane Monday had forced me into bed early at 10. But I couldn’t sleep. Hell with it, let’s get to some chicken soup for the soul writing stuff.

Skeptic flashes of vivid memories. Fully remembered these half-forgotten for long now. Grabbing a mug of coffee in the desolate night I lazily punched keys on my laptop. The back-light playing on my face during the occasional Youtube video kept me from dozing off in the chilly dark. But, had I forgotten something?

The next four hours couldn’t give me the answer. Questions ran over every inch of my mind. I usually don’t forget the ‘firsts’ and ‘lasts’ of things… the first time I had a crush on my classmate, the first time I  felt the curve of her rosy lips take my breath away, the first time I hugged my roomie tightly at the end of sophomore year, the first time I encountered the anger of ‘cause and effect’ and felt strongly for my own self; dreams and plans… the last time I laughed and felt invincible, the last time I had trains of a thought create a ruckus in my mind, the last time I was angry at ‘suddenly something’, the last time I painstakingly wished again for a thing that had an elated ‘first’ time, the last time I ‘shrugged’ on my first time… my ‘lasts’ had completely taken over my ‘firsts’.

But then, wait… had I forgotten something?

2.45 AM: Still fighting the waves of the ocean inside. I forced my mind to focus on the ‘firsts’ again. And probably to ease the fight, pictures of my childhood came over the eye. The first times… lovingly protected in mom’s arms, learning to ride a cycle with dad’s cover, fighting with my sister over milky bar, sleeping on the sofa and waking up on the bed, getting a punishment in school for being talkative, winning a trophy for poetry recitation, dancing to ‘tu cheez badi hai mast mast’ in front of the TV…and soon enough I felt that I had forgotten something again. Why was I forcing my memory back into the years anyway?

4.30 AM: Okay I get it now. Probably the ‘middle’ of teenage and adolescence matters more than the ‘firsts’ and the ‘lasts’. Let’s go back to sleep and fight the fight some other day. I did close my eyes but gray matter resisted. So I woke up. Running away doesn’t help. I had to fight now. And I did. This coming of age realization stunned my military mind. Silence wasn’t a companion any more. I had to feel the pain to heal the self. Each moment of the middle of my life where I underwent big changes physically, mentally & emotionally were devoid of vitality. A citizen of the largest nation of the world – procrastination, I hurt myself where it hurts the most.

But, why?

The question tore into the softness of dawn with loud roars and cries inside me. The answer; a sliver in my brain driving me mad… but I had to shovel it out. This time I had to. Otherwise, I’d never wake up. My sleep would end anyhow, but I won’t enter my dream. I will be lost again in oblivion.

Alarm beeped for 6.30AM. And swift came the understanding. I created these vaults of pained moments to use them as motivation to achieve what I could not, what I considered lost. And in the journey, the heaviness of these vaults wore out on my strengths. Obsessed & compulsive I was, I created even larger vaults again because it’s the only thing that has driven me for so long. But then, where am I now? The middle has really taken a toll on me.

My entire ‘middle’ flashed along. All the pain was imagined. Most pleasure was delusional. I was starving emotionally. I wanted to forget and start afresh. It isn’t so easy to destroy vaults that were created with such precision and intensity of volcanic anger and discontent. But I had to make a ‘first’ here.

I heaved a sigh of relief. I felt those vaults disappearing. Memory had started to heal itself, not because of the pain but because of love… unconditional acceptance of the experiences that made me myself. I told myself I had to cry. Because I’ll rememberthis entire war only if I attach enough pain onto it. But instead I smiled. Some tears glided on my cheeks and touched my lips. To live fully, parts of me that were never me had to die. Accidentally in love. Finally in bliss.

“Wake up dude!! Its 6.15AM!! You have to complete the assignment dumbo!!” my roommate quipped!

It was then that I actually woke up. I was fast asleep at 4.30 AM but inside my mind I was awake well across 6.30AM. I had been fighting, and I had won.

Oh God. Wow.

I thanked my stars for the divine Inception.

“and we keep driving into the night…
it’s a late goodbye, such a late goodbye…”

– Written by Guest Writer, Navraj Shubham, as a run-up to this blog’s 3rd blogoversary.